North Texas

Police Still Working To Solve Oak Lawn Hate Crimes

Dallas police want additional victims to come forward

The head of Dallas City Council's Public Safety Committee joined with Dallas police leaders this morning to launch a new campaign to raise awareness against LGBT discrimination.

Police also hope to bring attention to hate-crimes targeting gays and lesbians in North Texas.

LGBT leaders in the Oak Lawn community said assaults have continued this year, but many victims have reported being too afraid to go to police.

Dallas police said they have 14 open investigations into physical assaults and robberies in the Oak Lawn neighborhood dating back the last six months. Two of them are classified as hate crimes.

Most of the victims, though, are LGBT, and community leaders said the neighborhood was being targeted for the victims' sexual orientation.

Monday is the first day of victims crime week, and District Attorney Susan Hawk, County Sheriff Lupe Valdez and several victims of those Oak Lawn attacks joined up for a special conference. Police want the Oak Lawn community to know they haven't been forgotten.

Dallas police stepped up patrols through a weeks-long "lock-down" initiative that kept officers locked-into the Oak Lawn and Cedar Springs neighborhoods, except for highest-priority emergencies. They added undercover officers, 10 permanent security cameras and helped create a citizen watch program called VIP Patrols.

Councilman Adam Medrano, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said the extra effort is a step in the right direction, but there's still one problem.

"We don't have anybody in custody, anybody to hold responsible for the crimes," he said. "I really hope that the folks that have been attacked recently come out and let us know what happened, and report their crimes."

Dallas police spokesman Major Max Geron echoed the sentiment.

"I'd simply encourage those victims that may be out there, in the strongest words possible, give us the opportunity to hear what you have to say and to investigate those crimes," he said.

"We have a task force that exists in our office, and we will not tolerate these types of crimes," said District Attorney Susan Hawk.

No arrests have been made in the Oak Lawn attacks, but police said they are still investigating.

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